Apr. 21, 2022 UPDATE

My first experience at Nagashi Bina Festival

This was the first time for me to go to the Nagashi Bina Festival and it was really exciting!
Mika[ Sharing Kyoto Staff ]

Shimogamo shrine doll festival is held every year on March 3rd and “Nagashi bina (flowing dolls)” is one of the highlight events in this shrine. Hina Matsuri (Doll festival) is one of the traditional Japanese celebrations to pray for young girls’ growth and happiness. In this event, dolls are put on the straw and flowed into the Mitarashi River which is the famous river in Shimogamo Shrine. The doll festival was originally held to repel uncleanness by entrusting these to the doll. This event starts at 11am but the event that you can actually join is from 12pm (please note that the time changes by how the event is going). As it is very crowded, we recommend that you visit Shimogamo Shrine earlier than the actual starting time. Are you ready to take a tour with me now?

▼Click here for more details about the event


Shimogamo Shrine
So, this is the first entrance of Shimogamo Shrine. You may probably think that the shrine will appear right after walking through the gate, but the precinct of this shrine is huge as it is approximately 30 acres, about the same size of three Tokyo Domes. It is surrounded by trees emitting fresh air to its surroundings making visitors feel very relaxed.

World Heritage

Since Shimogamo Shrine is registered as a World Heritage, it is inscribed so on the rock.

walking through the forest
Still walking through the forest to the shrine.

We could finally see this flag

We could finally see this flag! (It says “Nagashi bina, the doll festival.)

it was already crowded
We arrived at the shine around 10:30am, but it was already crowded. Visitors were talking pictures, walking around the precinct, praying to the shrine and so on.

hina dolls
At the top of the step-like display of beautiful kimono wearing dolls sits the emperor and empress. Below them sit dolls representing handmaidens and even court musicians.

Very crowded.
It is right before 11am. Very crowded.

Nagashi bina
Before the event starts, we went to buy our own “Nagashi bina”. There are two sizes of “Nagashi bina” (¥500 for small doll and ¥1,000 for big doll). If you buy a big size “Nagashi bina”, special Hina Matsuri snack will come along.

our own “Nagashi bina”

Hina Matsuri crackers
These are the “Nagashi bina” doll and the special Hina Matsuri crackers coated by chocolate. I really liked it when I was a child.

event area
So, let’s get in to the event area! (Very crowded!)

flow your doll to the river

It is believed that your children's health will be blessed
If you buy your own “Nagashi bina” in Shimogamo Shrine, you can be close to the Mitarashi River and flow your doll to the river (dolls are sold from around 10 am). It is believed that your children's health will be blessed if you flow this doll as you pray.


The lady is wearing a type of kimono called “Junihitoe” which is an extremely elegant and highly complex traditional kimono.

A comment from the staff
My first experience of joining “Nagashi bina festival”! I was surprised by the numbers of people who joined this event on that day! You may feel quite refreshed after visiting Shimogamo Shrine where this event will take place as the shrine is surrounded by trees emitting fresh air to its surroundings. I would advise that you buy your “Nagashi bina” when you arrive at the shrine as there is a limited number of them. Please also enjoy other areas of this shrine!

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